tv Tavis Smiley WHUT January 21, 2011 8:30am-9:00am EST
tavis: good evening from washington. i'm tavis smiley. this is the third and final night of our conversation about the current and future state of our country called "america's next chapter." our thanks to nationwide for helping to make this event possible. i'm joined here by a terrific panel including david brody of the christian broadcasting network, maria teresa kumar, dana milbank,ianian, maria bartiromo, cornel west, david frum and john chen. we're glad you have joined us for the final fight of our conversation, "america's next chapter," coming up right now. [applause]
>> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference -- >> thank you. >> you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance proudly supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer, nationwide is proud to join tavis to improve financial literacy and the economic empowerment that comes with it. nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] tavis: in america, there is too much -- you may disagree on this point that david brody is making
but there is too much labeling in this country. i want to get to the heart of this. when you call someone anti-immigrant, what do you mean by that? >> first of all, i think as a country we are suffering from racial fatigue. we are afraid to talk about race. [applause] you don't want to bear that burden. when i say anti-immigrant, when i say a young man arizona who saved gabrielle girds' life, turned proposition, he would very asked for his papers just for the way he looked. that was a sad moment for us with the work that we do and it was a sad day in america when it passed and there wasn't an outcry from america. because for the very first time, we distinguished once again what america looks like based on the color of your skin.
that legislation has now been gutted but there are 22 other states introducing similar legislation where just by the fact that you may look like an undocumented individual, someone could ask for your papers. shame on us. [applause] tavis: dana milbank. >> there is two tea parties going on. one is 25% of the population and there is the very small minority that come to the rallies and i believe they are an entirely separate group. the ones who come to the rallies are themselves a tiny minority of a significant part of the population and there is some minority of those who are overtly racist. you might not have seen them but i've seen them and there is that element and that's what, we in the media -- i go to a rally, i look around stand i see a photograph, as i did, making a
comparison to the health care, i'm actually going to focus on that and not on the 99% of people who were perfectly calm and reasonable. that's what i would do in the media. the absolute vast majority of people in the tea party movement are just unhappy about the economy and angry that the government is not doing anything and are good and decent people, but there is no way around it. they are going to be tarred -- tavis: all of this conversation leads me to you specifically, arianna. the tea party, we have been talking about two african-american congress bhone just happen to be republicans. republicans now control the house as we all know. tell me why i should not blive that the sthradge president obama is going to employee over the -- strategy that president obama is going to employee over the yeast is going to be
clintonian to the core, for pages stolen out of their play book which means more compromise and capitulation. >> would you like to go to david to do that or to me? before i would not -- i would like to respond this fascinating discussion because actually we need dr. west. basically what we are talking about is something very fundamental about human nature. we've seen it in every period of history. when there is an economic crisis that fundamentally affects people's survival, the worst comes out in people. we've seen that again and again and again. [applause] that's why i'm saying we need to go to the source rather than immediately assuming these are the racist people. no, these are the anxious, scared people. these are the people who think they are next. these are the people waiting for the next shoe to drop and the
entire country, with the exception of a few people, really, are in that state. when you have 27 million people unemployed or underemployed, multiply that by three or four. either in their immediate family or their extended family who are affected or worried that they are going to be affect and that chris a -- that we are -- creates a that we are ignoring and we were actually expending from the country chinese workers. in the 1930's we were expending hispanic citizens under hoover. this is not the first time. we have a foreign accent piano. people say hey, -- accent. people say hey, lady, do you
speak english? where they are anti-black, anti-hispanic, earntjoosh, is going to -- anti-jewish. >> the other side of that, sister, is this. we have a corporate media. we have a mainstream media whose fundamental aim seems to be making money too. they sensationalize these issues and they don't humanize them. there is a whole host of americans out there, all colors. they were able to keep alive the legacy of martin luther king. anti-racist, anti-homophobic people are invisible in the media. that's about it. [applause] it is such a narrow truncated discussion that bombards persons and reinforces the worst this them and doesn't access the best
in them so we don't even have access to the best of our fellow citizens who are out there working so hard, but still invisible. what happens? once we reach a moment of catastrophe, catastrophe will come. tavis: if dr. west is right, and he is certainly passionate about it, and i think he is right. if he is right in this moment where we're trying to move this country forward, tryinto get past these division, the president calling for civility. what is the country losing then by the voices of people of color being marginalized in the conversation? it is one of my personal pet peeves as a black man on tv every night. i hate when i see so many conversations in this town that don't have asians in the conversation. that don't have hispanics in the conversation. that don't have african-americans in conversation. >> and women. tavis: and women. that just burns me up. i do what i can to address that.
i think the country is missing something in this critical moment when the voices of women and people of color in the media are marginalized to that you say what? >> this is where i tip my hat to arianna. the huffington spoast one of the most diverse platforms. [applause] i think it demonstrates that we are basically -- it does -- the rest of us where we could have someone with different opinions and voices in their garage writing and talking about it. but what we do need to do is break up the mainstream media and need to have conversations. i think dana, you were talking about it. also dr. west. if i'm feeling uncomfortable about where i am today and i don't have any rational conversation or any really
understanding of why i'm in the plight that i am, but i hear someone constantly telling me to hate or that it is their fault, it is easy for me to all of a sudden conclude that i'm not at fault , but it is the changing faces of america that are. so what we need to do with media is there is a responsibility to it. we need to talk about responsibility and hold people accountable. giffords said it best. words do have consequences. tavis: i want to discuss what is going to happen to our politics over the next couple of years. trying to write this next chapter. we're at the halfway point of president obama's first term. as i said earlier, also, david brody, we're just weeks away, literally from a whole bunch of folks starting to line up and publicly declaring that they are running for white house. most all of them are going to be
republicans. what's about to happen over the next couple of months? >> wow, you're going to see probably starting in march at some point, you'll see some of these candidates get in like newt gingrich. you'll see tim pawlenty get in. myth -- mitt romney, sarah palin is an open question. i think as it relateds to the republican field, i think there is an evangelical primary and a businessman's primary. you have people like huckabee, palin, potentially, mike pence and some other folks that will compete for the evangelical vote and then you'll have the businessman primary where you'll have romney and pawlenty and beginning rich. the republicans -- and newt
gingrich. the republicans are vulnerable. i think it remnants to where the president may have -- relates to where the president may have misstepped here. most people will agree that this is a center-right nation. i don't know that there are too many people that would disagree with that. but you have a center-right nation and you have a president who went ahead and passed partisan legislation as it relates to health care. so my point simply is he was trying to shoehorn something and i think it woke up people, getting back to the tea party for a moment. it woke up the tea party folks sitting on their couch watching "oprah" and going to get a hot pocket. all right. they were watching "almy children." but to my point. tavis: oprah was about to tweet
you. they are not watching me. david brody! [applause] >> david, you're also wrong about one other thing, which is the idea of a center-right country. [applause] that's what i mean about the -- endlessly repeated and the conventional wisdom and people begin to believe it. please do not believe this idea. you know, this country has been on a journey from the beginning, if you go back to that, are you saying that every bit of progress we made, the emancipation proclamation, the civil rights act, are you saying all of that leads to us being a center-right nation? >> no, of course not.
>> the country becoming more inclusive and more and more together. why is it left wing? if you say this is left wing, then you are giving every progress that happened in america to the left. do you really want to do that? >> that's another discussion. >> what zaved describing is for those of us that would like to elect a republican president it is a night mair scenario. -- nightmare scenario. it is going to be an especially painful whip is that you time. we have video tape of mike huckabee talking about the problem of global warm and how he is in favor of this and that solution in order to deal with that problem. he is a very intelligent and well-informed person. this is going to be used to torment and torture him.
this is going to be a difficult thing to get past. we have mitt romney. someone who would make a fine center-right president. he is the author of -- to the unbiased eye, an awful lot like to fram president just enacted that is -- program the president just enacted leading to naziism and death panels so he is like mr. death panel now. one by one -- we saw what just happened in the past 24 hours with tim paw lent combrifment governor of minnesota. nobody's idea of a -- is now proposing to -- is now saying it is going to be a priority of his to repeal don't ask-don't tell which just passed the senate. tavis: david frum is making a point that i've made repeatedly. i say if i'm president obama,
i'm thinking to your analysis now, you're giving the analysis better than the democrats. you're a republican. you're concerned. >> i worry more about i. tavis: if i'm brack brack, -- if i'm obama, i'm thinking to myself, you can't -- >> i want to put that on the record. tavis: that somebody had better be somebody because -- if i'm him, i'm thinking who are they going to put up here and you're giving a list of all of their weaknesses. if i'm obama, i'm saying to myself, for all of your -- you ain't got nowhere to go. what you going to do? you ain't got nowhere to go. what are you going to do? >> bear with itness, brother. -- bear witness, brother. >> we got two years now. see, the thing is that it is
very clear that the two-party system is part of the brokenness that we're talking about. [applause] we got both parties dominated by the same things, corporate big banking. you have id logical racial groups feeling powerless and impotent. that can be the beginning of fascism if we don't come to terms with this. on the other hand, it means that the tea party is going to become more and more upset with the establishment in the republican party because of business interests and their pop list interests begins to be more and more intention. and at the same time, president obama, masterful, eloquent, charismatic in his language. in his policies, you can't bring in geithner and summers and say you're --
[applause] you can't do that. martin died for sanitation workers. he was anti-militant. he was against the american empire in terms of his presence around the world junt cutting what he thought to be certain principles. when he died 75% of americans against hem. 55% of americans against him because he was too loving. when you love poor people that much, when you love working people that much, that makes you the freest man in the country or the freest woman in the country, but you're also the biggest threat to the republican and democrat party. tavis: there are a number of folk in this country, it has been alluded to before, maybe flat-out stated, that if between
you and 2012, the job picture turns around. most of us don't think it is going to happen. >> dramatically, i wouldn't say. tavis: if it changes dramatically, president obama will win. people say that, as americans we vote our pocketbooks. we vote our personal interests. if the economy turns around, there is some reason to believe that president obama will be elected rather easily. do you believe that, number one and relative to this meeting with jintao that the president can do in any real way to aid and abet that particular effort? >> that's a good question. first off, listening to this conversation, i say i now understand the definition of moderate. [laughter] yes. if the job turns around
dramatically and any sf any history or regime has told us that the president and administration will continue because people need to feel better and they have the appetiteto listen to think about the future and it will be easier to talk about the future while explaining the past. that i think favors the incumbent in this case. so if i were in the administration, what i wanted to do, i talked about it earlier when president hu jintao comes, the most important thing for the american business, it does over 50% of revenue outside the united states. american business in general. this is now the biggest economy going the fastest. nobody is going to debate that. they need a lot of stuff that we have. nobody is going to debate that. our issue is we don't always think. we got invited to all the parties over there. i'm just making very simple
term. so we need to make sure that we got all the invitations openly. now, we need to reciprocate. i think we also need to have -- invest more money in this country and create more jobs. they have 100 billion investment. but right now it seems policy-wise, attitude-wise on both sides is preventing -- all the mistrust, is preventing that. i can say this with a lot of evidence that our allies are getting their fair share. if i'm president obama and his administration, the first thing i'm going to do is make sure we have sound policy to open up the market. we have sound policy to ino vate ourselves and -- innovate ourselves and protectionism. we are doing some level of protectionism. i was saddened to see all the -- the appropriation bill that was
signed yesterday, the day before, whatever it was, we decided we were going to buy all the solar panels made in the united states. that's not the most helpful thing. the most important thing -- we may be buying solar panels from france or that matter. i think we should let the product and the technology and the pricing and the market win rather than you dictate what it is. tavis: maria? >> i agree. i think it will be about the economy. if the economy turns, it is a shoo-in, frankly but i think we're in a slow slop. i think unemployment is persisting because business managers and people operating businesses are feeling that they have a lot of expenses coming at them. the cost of health care. they are also unclear about the regulatory environment. they don't know how their businesses will look based on new regulations and they are worried about new regulations
coming at them in the coming year. that is keeping them somewhat handcuffed in terms of adding new heads to the payroll. as long as unemployment is an issue, that is going to be an issue for the president. 30% of all mortgages are underwater. the housing market has been missing in action in terms of the recovery. so wwe do need to see policies in place that will encourage businesses to create jobs. its could be a game changer for entrepreneurs. small business managers may see this -- tavis: we have to write this next chapter even for those who don't have a reason to be optimistic. you have hopeful anyway. and that's what hope is. the bible says that faith is the evidence of things hoped for. the evidence of things not seen. so that even when people are not optimistic, they can be hopeful. why after all of this should we,
can we remain hopeful about our future as a country? >> i think because as blues people if, we recognize that he or she who has never wrestled with despair has never lived. when you wrestle with despair, like david in genesis, in touch with reality. i wrestle with despair every day when i look at the prisons, poor people situations, and i don't hate rich folks. i just know that they are doing all right. i don't give them priority. that last moment is love. when you really love the people, you fight for justice and in the end, this world is not my home. i'm just passing through. i'm just passing through. i'm bearing witness and gone. tavis: how about a lot of
applause for this terrific panel. my thanks to all of you, david brody, david frum, john chen,ianian, cornel west, maria bartiromo, dana milbank. my thanks to everyone here. this terrific facility is a world class institution. a special thanks again to the good people at nationwide for making this possible. i'll see you tomorrow night from l.a. until then, good night washington. keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. >> hi, i'm tavis smile write. join me next time from l.a. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help
with his reading. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference -- >> thank you. >> you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance proudly supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer, nationwide insurance is proud to join tavis in working to improve financial literacy and remove obstacles one conversation at a time. nationwide is on your side. >> and from contributions from viewers like you. thank you.